APEG meeting on intersex cases before the Family Court

Earlier this year, the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group met with representatives of the Family Court with the aim of taking cases involving “special medical procedures” on intersex children out of court jurisdiction. We are gravely troubled by this.

A history of the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group notes these actions, commenting on the awarding of Garry Warne AM, that:

Garry’s most recent major project has been to attempt to set in place a framework for dealing with Disorders of Sexual Development (Intersex) in Australia in a manner which as far as possible avoids the need for the Court to be involved, as has unfortunately begun to happen following a Queensland case. Garry, once again thinking laterally, has put in place a structured ethical approach involving review by a specially constituted internal ethics committee.

We agree that the Family Court is not an appropriate vehicle for oversight of such medical practices, largely so-called “normalising” interventions. However, taking them out of court jurisdiction and into the hands of internal teams eliminates a form of independent oversight. Independent oversight is crucial.

This event comes across as a form of regulatory or institutional capture. We thank Tony Briffa for participating in these difficult discussions, and understand just how difficult this space was to navigate.